Who's Who

May/June 2000

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Who's Who

GEORGE GMELCH, '68, led two lives at Stanford. He'd take classes in fall and winter, then leave every March to play minor-league baseball. Now a cultural anthropologist, Gmelch has spent the last decade traveling with teams, trying to decipher the culture of this enigmatic profession. His book The Ballplayers will be published this December. One finding: "We have this stereotype that retired baseball players don't do well in white-collar careers," he says, "but quite a few have really landed on their feet." Gmelch, chair of anthropology at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., lives in nearby Slingerlands with his anthropologist wife, Sharon, and ballplaying son, Morgan. He writes about the demise of his own baseball career in this issue.

DOUG SWANSON had a presidential kind of week recently. In the midst of researching our cover story on Stanford's next chief, he had to drop everything to cover a Sacramento campaign stop by George W. Bush. Writing about presidents and contenders is nothing new for Swanson, a Palo Alto-based reporter for the Dallas Morning News. "Anybody remember Pierre duPont?" Swanson asks. "He ran for the White House in 1988, and I spent three days riding around New Hampshire with him, both of us crammed into the back seat of a Chevy compact. And I once had dinner in downtown Billings, Mont., with Dan Quayle." Swanson was a 1998-99 Knight fellow in journalism at Stanford and now covers Northern California and Silicon Valley. His fifth book, House of Corrections, is due out in August.

Illustrator MICHELLE CHANG has some affinity for the itinerant life that development consultants lead. Her education took her from studies in design and environmental analysis at Cornell to San Francisco for a second degree from the Academy of Art College. Early in her career, she worked in France, Japan, the United States and Korea. Now she has settled in New York City, with a client roster that includes GQ, Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, Time and the Wall Street Journal. The best thing about living abroad, Chang says, is interacting with new cultures. Still, she finds present-day New York so different from her childhood memories -- "I feel like I don't know it at all" -- that she hardly misses globetrotting.

"You can't go to Mata Ortiz without buying pots," says writer SUSAN LOWELL, '72, MA '74. "They are absolutely seductive: so smooth, so frail, so exuberant, sometimes so funny." Lowell and her husband, photographer Ross Humphreys, own a small press in Tucson, Ariz., and decided to publish a book on the pottery of the tiny Mexican town after seeing some pieces at a museum. Lowell's article on Mata Ortiz and its biggest booster, Walt Parks, '54, MBA '59, appears in this issue with Humphreys's photos. The couple also has a cattle ranch, so Lowell writes between branding chores and sales conferences. Her children's book The Three Little Javelinas sold half a million copies. She is currently working on a novel based on Victorian family papers she discovered in an iron strongbox.


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